August 6th, 2010
08:05 PM ET

Your thoughts: American Muslims underestimating 9/11 effect?

Lots of comments coming in on our story about a prominent American Muslim scholar who says the proposed mosque near ground zero may be dangerously misguided and that American Muslims have failed to grasp how deeply the 9/11 attacks shook the U.S.

Here's a semi-representative cross-section.

From a Muslim reader:

I'm a Muslim and I don't like the radical Muslims but why would I want to kill anyone? I do try to educate, but it's a big world with over one billion Muslims. And why should people want to destroy this mosque? What is the purpose? What will they gain? Why is any violence necessary? I hate the actions of those who were responsible for 9/11. Unfortunately, they didn't ask my permission.

From an opponent of an Islamic center near ground zero who says she's not a bigot:

I do not think the Muslim community understands how angry people still are over this act. I am not a bigot and have worked in minority based jobs for years now; however, I would NOT put a mosque near the Twin Towers simply because it is too soon and people are still angry.

It many ways it reflects the same anti-American anger in other countries. Perhaps the mosque should be put elsewhere , not so close to the Twin Towers, so it won't cause as much controversy.

To imply that it is only bigots who are against it is very unfair. The fact is many people are still angry about what happened and do not want a reminder of those who crashed airplanes into buildings killing people simply because you have the right to do so. There are responsibilities in play here and the Muslim community would be better served to pay attention to those responsibilities.

Here's a Christian defender of the so-called ground zero mosque:

I teach in New York City, I am a Christian woman and the hate that flows over this issue is TOXIC. Let me point out that there are mosques throughout the five boroughs of New York City where devout Muslims try to lead good lives, condemn terrorism, work hard for the American Dream to ensure their sons and daughters are not exposed to the evil of terrorism.

The American public makes it really hard for a person who is tolerant of others and has never hurt anyone nor subscribed to radical Islamic beliefs to move forward. STOP STEREOTYPING.... THIS IS AMERICA....OUR COUNTRY IS BUILT ON DIVERSITY....For those backwood people who have no exposure to other cultures STOP EMBARRASSING YOURSELVES. A small portion of people did this...

The attacks have been condemned by the Islamic community repeatedly and if we are to move forward as a community we must learn from each other and accept differences, not be afraid of them. I welcome the mosque into that community.... just as I welcome them into the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens... It hurts me to see this issue even come up... The religion did not attack us.... idiots did....

Here's an unrepentant critic of Islam:

Here are a group of people that issue Fatwas of death against cartoonists and cartoon TV producers for depicting something that THEY believe should not be depicted. Yet, they are totally insensitive to the emotions and pleading of so many people hurt, directly or indirectly, by 9/11. 9/11 no matter how you look at it (radical fundamentalists or not) is inexorably linked with Islam.

Finally, this reader wants to turn the tables on Christian critics of how Muslims respond to Muslim terrorism:

Why doesn’t every Christian in the world put a stop to the Westboro Baptist Church? Why don’t they apologize for invading the middle east and slaughtering Muslims by the thousand during the Crusades? Why don’t they publically condemn the IRA every time a church is built in Belfast? Why doesn’t every Christian apologize to every kid ever molested by a priest?

Why? Because they didn’t have anything to do with those things, just like 99.9% of Muslims have nothing to do with terror attacks, and are just as victimized by it because ignorant people like you seem to believe all Muslims belong to the same secret club. Islam is just as diverse as Christianity, and shouldn’t be held to a different standard just because you are a bigot.

By the way, even though they had nothing to do with it, most Muslim groups actively denounce the terror attacks. If you did a two-minute google search, you’d know this.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 'Ground zero mosque' • Interfaith issues • Islam • Muslim

soundoff (101 Responses)
  1. C. P.

    "American Muslims underestimating 9/11 effect?" - Perhaps... One should never underestimate the ability of Christians, Jews, Hindus and others (including Muslims) for deep hatred and desire for vengeance. The "9/11 effect" is to bring forth the evil of our own tribal nature. I am sure Muslims have understood this very well with what has been met out to them. For better than half a century we have financed wars and the oppression of Muslims through proxies like Israel. Millions have been killed, maimed, tortured or otherwise devastated with our financing and encouragement. We never stop to know our capacity for evil, or judge our deeds. Perhaps we underestimate the evil that is us. And we have the audacity to claim the moral high ground, proclaiming our tribal beliefs are better than theirs. Rather, we have been brainwashed and perverted by primitive ideas of gods, and we are destroying humanity with it.

    August 23, 2010 at 3:13 pm |
  2. Daniel

    A lot of American lives were taken that day and days after. I don't think they should put a building up. That day really hurt the American people.

    August 20, 2010 at 5:40 pm |
  3. George

    Let them build the damn thing. When Jesus gets here, we'll see what he has to say about it....and I can tell ya, he ain't gonna like it and he's gonna want ten percent of the action.

    August 15, 2010 at 6:10 pm |
    • Miriam

      i love how you know what jesus is going to do and say... when he was discussing this with you, did he say how pleased he is with all the innocent people killed in the name of vengeance of 9/11 (iraq and afghanistan)

      and also about how pleased he is for the founding of the united stated on stolen indian land, and of the trail of tears, and of cruel slavery of afrians by all these good "christians", and about the heartwarming crusades, and dont forget about the murder of all the jews done by hitler in the name of christianity... because all the nazis know jews killed christ in the first place

      August 23, 2010 at 9:26 pm |
  4. Jesse

    More bad news; recently on cnn's reporting of this article; I was brought to frustration with even the reporter; specifically, the angle that those I associate myself with (westerners?) are beginning to take; purposely forgetting the reporter, at the end of the debat; "we" resorted to our own version of western fundamentalism; bickering with people who are happy to argue words all day; as means of fortifying our stand. Thats alot of writing to say; bickering is not a form of wisdom, inspite of all their preachings and teachings to the effect of devoutly following Jesus Christ; is that a point? I feel so self conscious, hahahahahahaha

    August 15, 2010 at 3:55 am |
  5. Andrew Watts, England

    how many more mistakes are you American people going to make 7/11 shook your country to the core allowing a mosque near or on this site will make you a laughing stock in the eyes of the world and the small number of muslims who think terror is right will think thay have one yet another chapter on ther fight against the west so on that ground only i think the best thing for the site would be a peoples park where people from all walks of life and religious back ground can be as one A.R WATTS ,E ngland

    August 14, 2010 at 9:44 am |
  6. W.G.

    While a lot of Muslims do not support the terrorism , they do nothing about it . They hear about a Mosque that
    is run by radicals but they stay silent about it . They know that in Islamic countries there is no freedom for
    other religions to practise their faith yet they stay silent about it . It is insensitive to build a Mosque so near
    the world trade site .

    August 13, 2010 at 6:05 am |
    • Miriam

      how does it become THEIR duty as well? did they have ANYTHING to do with ANYTHING that happened on 9/11? you sit there in your home having nothing to do with anything that happened, then blame someone else who is in that same position for what happened, and he has to condemn it, and apparently he's guilty because of his religion... and about "no other religious freedoms in muslim countries"... you cant name a SINGLE muslim county that denies religious practice... not a single, including saudi arabia... just because they don't premit building religious buildings doesn't mean they don't respectively let you practice whatever you want to practice... unlike in some WESTERN countries they are banning religious practices such as; the headscarf! at least in every single muslim country someone can practice their religion...and i know for a fact that theres dozens of churches in jordan and many other muslim countries, JUST not in saudi arabia, which you people feel obliged to keep poking at... if you don't respect their most holy spot, how do you call yourselves "civilized people", more like bullies.. correct me if im wrong, but wasnt isreal founded on a religious HOLY CITY that they whine about having.. just because they believe its their spot given by god, it belongs to them, so they have to right to kick out and discriminate against anyone else that wants to live there that isnt of that religion? and didnt america support it?

      August 23, 2010 at 9:37 pm |
  7. Acmed Shams

    why can we not make this a multicultural center? We should be wary of overt islamophobia, and be careful to single out extremists, such as the Taliban.
    You absolutely MUST see this:


    August 12, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  8. LorraineH

    Aside from the total disrespect of the moderate Muslims who expect to build a mosque where a terrorist act of immense proportions that still has an impact on the American people, I wonder about the Imam. People who agree with the building of this mosque keep saying that this Imam is a moderate and that the US government has even sent him around to represent those moderate Muslims who live in the US. I am a Catholic and as such have seen both good and bad Priests, and I am sure, all other religious groups have seen good and bad Leaders. Unless this Imam is planning to live forever who can tell whether the next Imam will be a moderate or closet extremist. Do Imams get transferred between Mosques? Who chooses the next Imam? Is there a Muslim religious leader who can visit the Mosque, override the views of the current Imam, and address the congregation and express his extremists views?

    August 12, 2010 at 7:29 am |
  9. davem1962

    "Other religions have issues, but there are many more people visible working to resolve them than there are in Islam. Toleration is central to all peoples living together; we all have much work to do."

    The people who are working on the Park51 project are doing this and they are still being criticized by leading Republicans who don't like the mayor of NYC and the people who live on Manhattan Island.

    August 11, 2010 at 2:45 pm |
  10. Altee11

    It's not just 9/11 that affects Americans; it's also the continual beat of hatred coming from Islamic countries and peoples toward non-Islamic nations and citizens. Americans also have fears of home grown terrorism more than ever. We don't see enough efforts from Islamic groups to beat back extremism. Extremism unchecked might lead to extremism from other religions and peoples. Extremism must be kept in check by all sides for peace and stability to ultimately prevail. It probably involves a lot more thought and compromise.

    August 11, 2010 at 12:23 pm |
  11. Altee11

    Why hasn't Hamid Karzai condemned the Taliban's killing of a medical team in Afghanistan? If he has, the media should report it more loudly. The Taliban claimed the team was proselytizing; this has been denied. Why should it matter if the team was not only providing medical help, but also proselytizing? So long as proselytizing is done in the context of free choice to accept or reject peacefully, it is an ok practice.

    August 11, 2010 at 12:16 pm |
  12. Altee11

    The voice of bin Laden, Gadahn, Al-Awlaki, and Zawahiri are loud. The Saudi's don't allow women equal rights, or other religions to practice openly and proselytize. Islam has death for apostasy (very anti-freedom). Islamic countries seem to all demand their countries be run under some form of Sharia; just look at the photo of the girl in Time on August 9, 2010 and the horror of such law becomes evident. Other religions have issues, but there are many more people visible working to resolve them than there are in Islam. Toleration is central to all peoples living together; we all have much work to do. Honest discussion and debate is a big part of the effort needed to prevent our issues from turning into long-term existential wars.

    August 11, 2010 at 12:10 pm |
  13. davem1962

    The Imam is helping us win Muslims to our values. The Center he will head also do that. It is smart to invest in things which are strongly in our national interest. The world Muslim community has done much to help us since 9/11. We need to appreciate what they have done.

    We can't and shouldn't make a large part of lower Manhattan a place to mourn the dead rather than celebrate life in all its diverse abundance. NYC is a world center. It is a cauldron endlessly boiling with people from all parts of the earth and all persuasions. It makes no sense to forget about the World Trade Center that proudly stood there and instead make that whole part of NYC including City Hall and Wall Street a symbol for America's insularity and fear of others who are different.

    August 10, 2010 at 7:12 pm |
  14. Keith

    now we have to pay for an overseas trip for this ground zero imam? Some in our gov't and the media certainly are useful idiots. The guy should fly on his own dime to apologize for murders of those 10 Christians by the taliban. Religion of peace my........

    August 10, 2010 at 9:43 am |
  15. davem1962

    America has optimistic people who trust others and pessimistic people who can't. In the long run, the optimists win out. That will be the case here. There is also the matter of being practical and understanding how the world works. Mayor Bloomberg is and does. Sarah Palin and Rick Lazio aren't and don't. There is no way anyone can exclude Muslims from renting, building, and worshipping in Lower Manhattan. There will be no way to keep them from renting in the Ground Zero towers when they are built.

    August 9, 2010 at 2:07 pm |
    • TammyB

      In some ways I agree with you, however, the difference being that I am not sure this is such a good idea at this time. This would be like constructing a high-rise in a cemetary...hallowed ground. This is what people from New York and others feel. It's just not the right time. And I don't think the Muslim community has done enough to try to understand this. For many who live there, building a Mosque is disturbing their hallowed ground, the place where they lost people they loved. I live across the country, as far away from New York as you can get practically. And so, I may not fully understand how the people feel there, but I can empathize from what I know. And it just doesn't feel right at this time.

      August 10, 2010 at 6:07 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.